A conference on the military-industrial complex and how to get out from under its domination.

A three-day conference Sept 28-18, 2011 in Charlottesville, VA, sponsored by the group War is a Crime.org, addressed the disastrous effects of the permanent war economy on society, and how to get out of it. The roster of prominent speakers included David Swanson, Ellen Brown, Ann Wright, Lisa Savage, Robert Jensen, Bruce Cagnon, Ray McGovern and others.

Here is an excerpts from David Swanson, who organized the conference. to whet your appetite:

 Let’s say we want to create 29 million jobs in 10 years. That’s 2.9 million each year. Here’s one way to do it. Take $100 billion from the Department of Defense and move it into education. That creates 1.75 million jobs per year. Take another $50 billion and move it into healthcare spending. There’s an additional 400,000 jobs. Take another $100 billion and move it into clean energy. There’s another 550,000 jobs. And take another $62 billion and turn it into tax cuts, generating an additional 200,000 jobs. Now the military spending in the Department of Energy, the State Department, Homeland Security, and so forth have not been touched. And the Department of Defense has been cut back to about $388 billion, which is to say: more than it was getting 10 years ago when our country went collectively insane.

Here is an excerpt from a speech by Ellen Brown, author of Web of Debt:

Military spending is the very essence of “built-in obsolescence”: it turns out products that are designed to blow up. The military is not subject to ordinary market principles but works on a “cost-plus” basis, with producers reimbursed for whatever they have spent plus a guaranteed profit. Gone are the usual competitive restraints that keep capitalist corporations “lean and mean.” Private contractors hired by the government on no-bid contracts can be as wasteful and inefficient as they like and still make a tidy profit. Yet legislators looking to slash wasteful “entitlements” persist in overlooking this obvious elephant in the room. …

Fortunately, there is a way to solve these problems without maintaining a perpetual state of war: keep the jobs but convert them to civilian use. Military conversion is a well thought-out program that could provide real economic stimulus and national security for people here and abroad. Existing military bases, laboratories, and production facilities can be converted to civilian uses. Bases can become industrial parks, schools, airports, hospitals, recreation facilities, and so forth. Converted factories can produce consumer and capital goods: machine tools, electric locomotives, farm machinery, oil field equipment, construction machinery for modernizing infrastructure. It has been done before.

Several thousand years ago, the prophet Isaiah spoke of his vision that “they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.”   This is a worthy guiding motto for our times when the military-industrial complex is driving the entire civilization into self-destruct mode and oblivion.

Here is a link to the video of the conference.  Here is a link to the text of many of the papers presented.

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